So here it is….part 2 of my “how-to-build-a-ccie-rack”. In this part I will focus on how to build the server that is used for the GNS3 virtualization. It is one of the major parts of your lab, as the server…
…1st) runs all your routers in gns3/dynamips
…2nd) acts as the console server/access server to get access to the 4 switches
…3rd) is the place where your configs are saved
…4th) is the point where you can get remote access from anywhere in the world even through proxys (optional)
So lets begin:
As mentioned in part 1 we need a server with quite a lot power to run all the virtualized machines and we need at least 3xPCI (standard, no express) slots to run the 3xDLINK DFE 580TX. An we need some USB ports for the USB to RS232 cables, which should not be a problem. With the components..I know they are not the highest perfomance you can get, but focus here were the costs of the server.
As Mainboard I chose an ASRock M3A770DE:
It is quite cheap with about 60$ and it has everything we need for our server.
Then we have the RAM (just look in the specs of the mainboard manual which kind of ram you need)
And the quad core CPU.dual core CPUs are also good but with a quad core you are safe.
Then I bought a graphics adapter…ahm…well it has 512M RAM and an HDMI interface. Definitely not needed,we need that only for attaching a screen to the machine. Well this card was the cheapest I could get in the store where I bought the components :). I just needed to pay attention that it is PCI Express here because I did not want to block one of the normal PCIs.
Then we need a case (does not need to be a server case,can be a desktop or tower too) thats supports the ATX form factor.I got one for free (almost) on ebay…it will not win a design price but thats ok for me though it is not a showcase. Pay attention that your power supply is scaled big enough.
Here is mine (not a beauty queen but heavy and solid 🙂 :
So what else do we need…four USB2Serial adapters. You can buy them also at ebay from sellers located in asia. Only thing is you have to wait…but they are cheap and work fine for our purpose here. Does not matter which type you buy, just pay attention that a driver CD comes with it or that you can download the drivers from the web. As an alternative you can use a USB to 4xSerial Adapter (but they are expensive!), which come into play when you run out of USB ports. Better you buy a cheap USB hub.
Then of course we need to have the possibility to bridge the GNS3 clouds (details are covered in the parts later on) with the physical interfaces of our four catalyst switches. So we need three 4xPort NICs. I prefer the DLink DFE-580TX, because they work fine and are quit cheap (from 20$ to 100$ each, depending on where you buy them). Have a look at ebay…there you will find enough of them :). The four ports are 10/100 HD/FD.
So then lets put all the components together and make them run. Here are the pictures how it is done!
This is my old case. I took a new one some days ago to make the lab look a bit more attractive. Here is the new one!
Here are all the parts that I will build into that case.
Removed the stuff from the old case.
First put the back cover for the ATX into the case. You cant do this when the board is already mounted.
And finally its working!
Within the next ´parts you will see how the server looks like in the rack together with the other components.